Tens of thousands of social care workers could join a national walk out in protest at the proposed changes to public sector pensions.
Unison and Unite have confirmed they are to join a co-ordinated public sector union protest over the government’s intention to overhaul the pensions system, including the local government pension scheme.
Unison will ballot its 1.1 million members and Unite is to send ballot papers to another 250,000 people. The GMB is also balloting its members.
If their members back a series of national strikes, to take place from this winter and into next year, this will be the biggest collective industrial action since the general strike of 1926.
Unite’s general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “The union movement has taken this step with reluctance, but we have been faced with a government that refuses to negotiate in good faith.
“Public sector workers, many of them low paid, are being relentlessly and unfairly targeted by the government. With their retirement incomes under threat, they have been pushed into a corner and are being forced to take this action.”
He added that, in local government, the average pension is already just £4,000 a year.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said around 9,000 employers would be sent notice of its intention to ballot members.
In a speech to the TUC Conference in London, he added: “The campaigns we are fighting aren’t just about pensions. They aren’t just about jobs and pay; they are about the kind of society we leave to our children.
“They’re about protecting and passing on the rights our grandparents fought for the welfare state, universal public services. They’re about breaking a political consensus that says the market knows best. We stand for ordinary people serving the public.”
The government has been contacted for a response.
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